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Steve Stricker wins first PGA Tour event of 2012

America's Steve Stricker showed his pedigree by triumphing at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii to become 2012's first PGA Tour Winner by four strokes over Martin Laird of Scotland.

His fourth straight top ten at the Plantations Course in Kapalua, Stricker was challenged by a late blitz from Laird who fired five birdies in his closing seven holes, but the 44-year-old from Wisconsin held him off to seal a 23 under par victory.

There looked to be a chink of light for compatriots Webb Simpson and Jonathan Byrd when Stricker dropped a shot at the short par-four sixth but a 24-foot birdie settled his nerves on the eighth.

"I felt it kind of slipping away [at the start of the round] but I was patient," said the 44-year-old. "Frustrated, but patient.

"The birdie at eight calmed me down quite a bit and I played steady after that."

"I was proud of the way I hit the ball, not so proud of the way I putted it but proud of the way I hit it," Stricker added.

"It's always tough trying to win and it's even more tough when you have a lead like I had. I played good though."

With the win Stricker now finds himself atop the FedEx Cup rankings, somewhere he will no doubt hope to stay come the end of the season, and he climbs one place to fifth on the first Official World Golf Ranking of the year to remain the game’s top ranked American.

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